Take a look at the Western conference standings and you shouldn’t be too surprised to see Vancouver and Detroit occupying the top 2 spots, but Phoenix at number three may cause you to give your head a shake. I know they are only in the number 3 seed because they are a division leader, but the run they are on is still impressive. They are 11-0-1 in the month of February with goalie Mike Smith leading the way with his career-best and franchise-record winning streak of 11 games. They have outscored their opponents 35-19, picked up 2 shutouts, and along the way beat the top 2 teams in the NHL (Detroit and Vancouver). Haven’t we heard this before?? Oh yeah, just last season when the Coyotes strung together 8 straight wins in February to climb up the standings.
In fact, they have done pretty well in February lately:
Wait what? 2009 sticks out like a sore thumb. What changed after that season you ask? They hired Dave Tippett that’s what. This wasn’t something new for Tippett, he was the head coach in Dallas for 6 seasons before heading to Phoenix and we saw much of the same thing. During that time the Stars played 66 games in the month of February, and won 40 of them (and picked up 6 ties as well, remember them?). His best was in 2007-08 when the Stars went 12-2.
February is a crucial time of the season and Tippet seems to have found a way to motivate his team at the right time. Take this into consideration, the Coyotes were sitting in 12th place going into this month and suddenly find themselves on top of the division and would have home ice in the first round of the playoffs if the season ended today. Oh and let’s not forget that he has had this success while dealing with ownership issues (for three straight seasons no less) .
Maybe Tippett is a romantic, maybe it’s just a coincidence, or maybe he just recognizes just how important this month is (my vote is for the latter) . Either way, I will be making a lot of February bets on whatever team Dave Tippett coaches from this point on.
Let’s head to the links
Rick Nash spoke to the media yesterday to talk about why is asked for a trade (Puck Daddy)
While we are talking about Nash, Blueshirt Banter tells us exactly what happened in the Rangers war room on deadline day
Unlike the Coyotes, the Bruins are glad February is done. No wait, its a leap year, well its almost done. (Days of Y’Orr)
Speaking of leap years, The Pens Blog recaps what the Pens did four years ago today
Leaf fans were pretty loud last night (Pro Hockey Talk)
Will Dave Tiger Williams career PIM’s record ever be broken? Dirty Dangle has an opinion
The Flu is going around the Lightning locker room. You may want to put a mask on before clicking on this story (Tampa Bay online)
The Jets bounce up and down in the standings harder than (insert dirty joke here) . Winnipeg Whiteout says the homestretch is going to be tough.
and finally the Caps won again last night. The Ovechkin OT goal looks like the ones that went in all the time early in his career